Review: Fluid Shorts by Performance Samples

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With Fluid Shorts, Performance Samples sets themselves apart from other string libraries by successfully delivering a natural and authentic sounding sample set that has found a place in my template as a “go-to” for string ostinatos and shorts.

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Review: Fluid Shorts by Performance Samples

In the world of modern film and media music, nothing is more standard and idiomatic than a string ostinato. Most composers have piles of string libraries, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s common to blend libraries together to get that personal string sound. The string shorts have always been in a category of their own. While one library may excel in sweeping legato lines, the spiccato samples and epic shorts that an epic score may call for are notably weak. The phrase “jack of all trades, but master of none” comes to mind. Fluid Shorts attempts to tackle the sound of the cinematic string shorts in a unique way. They avoid the “jack of all trades” pitfall and instead focus in one one specific tool. They do it beautifully.

Fluid Shorts sells for $79 from Performance Samples

Thoughts

I was excited to dig into this library as strong string shorts are such an important part of any composer’s template, almost regardless of the genres they typically score. Surely a library that took such a specific focus would do the sound justice. They did indeed. The first patch I reached for was one of the cellos. It instantly put a smile on my face. It was wonderfully playable and expressive right out of the box. The three mic positions allowed me to easily place the strings in the type of spatial context that I wanted. The decay on the strings, at first I found to be too short for my liking. This however, as I would soon discover was not a flaw of the library but rather a feature. Mod wheel control allowed me to change the decay rate thus allowing the strings to slip into any context.

 

The library consists of 4 main patches as the strings are split into Violins, Violas, Celli, and Basses. There is no independently recorded violin 1 and 2. Within each of the four sections there are three different patches. These patches allow the user to select the amount of latency the samples have by controlling how tight the sample is clipped. The patches are named as Normal, which has a very noticeable latency, Tight, and Ultra Tight. Ultra Tight has the least amount of latency but at the sacrifice of some of the quality and detail of the note’s initial attack. What some users may find useful is to write using the Tight or Ultra Tight patches as the lack of latency makes them much more enjoyable to play. Once the part has been written, and the MIDI recorded, the user could replace the patch with the Normal patch and add some MIDI delay to the track. This way, the attacks of the notes would have the full detail and the MIDI delay would ensure that that Fluid Shorts are not rhythmically lagging behind the other elements in your track.

Another unique quality about Fluid Shorts is the size of the ensemble.

While many sample developers seem to have the perspective of “go big or go home” and consistently attempt to create samples with which large scale orchestral music can be written, Performance Samples has opted to go in the other direction. Fluid shorts represents a relatively small ensemble size. It contains 8 violins, 6 violas, 4 celli, and 3 basses. Though hardly a chamber group, this size is a fresh change of pace in a sample market saturated with seemingly billion piece string orchestras. This smaller and more detailed sound also makes Fluid Shorts an ideal candidate for doubling other short sounds.

An additional oddity to the library is the way in which the samples were recorded. While most sample developers would have their players play isolated notes, Performance Samples, perhaps being true to their namesake, has managed to source the samples from performance phrases of off the bow spiccato repetitions. These phrases were then deconstructed and manually timed to create the samples. The odd and atypical way in which this library was created is perhaps a part of the reason it is so successful in sounding natural and authentic.

Though it can be difficult to set yourself apart as a creator of short string samples, as the market is so saturated with options, Fluid Shorts by Performance Samples certainly has made a wonderful attempt. In my opinion, they have succeeded and have found themselves a place in my template as one of my go to string short sounds.

Facts

Weighing in under 3 GB, Fluid Shorts by Performance samples packs a punch. The library boasts up to 7 round robins for each of the 3 dynamic layers (two for basses). Each of these was beautifully recorded at three mic positions each with adjustable control. The library contains 4 individual sections: 8 violins, 6 Violas, 4, Celli, and 3 Basses. Each of these is contained within their own patch. Mod wheel control allows the user to change the decay of the sound. Three individual patches per section (Normal, Tight, and Ultra Tight) allow the user to select the latency and the amount of attack the samples have. The library requires the full version of Kontakt version 5.5.1+ to run and will not work with the free Kontakt player.

Fluid Shorts sells for $79 from Performance Samples

 

Demos of Fluid Shorts by Performance Samples

Videos of Fluid Shorts by Performance Samples